Perfect for an indulgent brunch, this share-and-tear bread is laced with coffee syrup and served with ice cream. Find more recipe ideas from past The Great British Bake Off winners in HELLO! out now.
"Monkey bread sounds fun, and it most certainly is," says GBBO 2012 winner John Whaite, who created the recipe. "It's basically balls of pillowy white bread dough dipped in syrup and coated in sugar then baked as a whole. Sort of like a very rough and ready share-and-tear loaf. My version – for an exceedingly indulgent brunch – is laced with coffee syrup and served with ice cream, a combination inspired by the Italian classic affogato."
Butter, for greasing
400g/14oz strong white bread flour
1 x 7g sachet fast-action or instant yeast
275ml/1 0fl oz water
125g/ 4½oz unsalted butter, softened
180g/6½oz light brown muscovado sugar
150ml/¼pt strong black coffee
1ltr/1¾pt vanilla ice cream
1. Grease a 23cm/9in ring or savarin mould with butter.
2. I make the dough in my freestanding electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, but it can be made by hand. In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour with the salt and the yeast. Add the water – room temperature is fine – along with the 50g/2oz of the butter. Bring all the ingredients together to a scraggy mass then knead vigorously until elastic and smooth. This will take about 5 minutes on high speed in the mixer or a good 10 minutes by hand, with full-throttle elbow grease.
3. Bring the dough into a rough ball and place back in the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with clingfilm, put in a warm place and allow the dough to prove and rise until about doubled in size – this will take up to an hour.
4. While the dough is proving, make the syrup. Place the remaining butter in a saucepan with 80g/3½ oz of the sugar and the black coffee. Stir everything together then gently bring to the boil. Boil for just 1 minute, stirring until well mixed. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.
5. Put the remaining muscovado sugar in a clean mixing bowl.
6. When the dough has risen, gently slap it a couple of times to "knock it back" – the technical term for deflating it. Divide the dough into walnut-sized portions – about 30-35 in total. Roll each portion into a rough ball and dunk into the coffee syrup then straight away into the muscovado sugar.
7. Pile the dough balls into the prepared tin and pour over 2 tbsp of the coffee syrup, reserving the rest for serving. Leave the dough to rise again, until it comes up to just under the rim of the tin – between 30 minutes-1 hour.
8. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas 4.
9. Once the dough has risen, bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Turn out immediately on to a wire rack and leave to cool for about 15 minutes – you should serve it warm, but not so hot that the ice cream melts instantly. Boil the remaining syrup in a small saucepan.
10. Put the monkey bread on a serving plate then pile the ice cream into the hole in the centre and drizzle over the syrup. Allow everyone to tear off chunks of bread and scoop up lashings of ice cream.
Variation: If you don't have a ring mould, use a 900g/2lb loaf tin instead and serve slices of the bread topped with scoops of ice cream.
Recipe taken from Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients by John Whaite with photography by Helen Cathcart. (Kyle Books, £18.99 hardback).